ZOMBIE BLOGGER

By: Ben Babcock

I wasn’t always this way. Two years ago I didn’t have a clue as to how to turn on a computer. Didn’t even know what  Safari or Internet Explorer was. I’d see my kids feverishly typing replies on Facebook and my husband sharing YouTube videos with his friends…and I just didn’t get what all the fuss was about. Most evenings after dinner everyone in the family had their noses buried in their computers. Except me. I preferred to spend my nights curled up with a good, old-fashioned, paperback novel.

My husband decided to ease me into the world of technology slowly. First came the hot pink iPod he bought me for my birthday. After dozens of failed attempts to find and store my favorite songs (I’m so technologically challenged, I couldn’t figure out how to scroll through play lists or adjust the volume), I threw the expensive gadget at my husband and told him to take the stupid thing back to the store for a refund.

A glutton for punishment, the poor man tried once again by giving me a Kindle the following Christmas (this time he inched away slowly as I unwrapped the present). I plastered  a smile on my face, thanked him for the lovely gift, and promptly deposited it in my underwear drawer because I had no intention of ever using it. I liked my paperback novels and no fancy gadget was going to replace them.

A year later, my kids found the Kindle, dusted it off and shoved it into my hands. It was time for me to step out of the disco era and learn some technology.

It took awhile, but I finally got the hang of it and actually looked forward to reading my favorite novels on the Kindle at bedtime.

The true test came last summer when my husband dragged me to a computer class for beginners. My first day there, it was a bit disheartening to see that I was the only person present without hair the color of a Q-tip. As much as I wanted to bolt from the room, I forged on and slowly began to grasp the exhilarating freedom of internet exploration. I had stepped into a brand new world, and there was no way I was going to crawl back into the dark cave I had come from, where finger-painting buffalo on stone walls with berry juice was the norm. I felt as if I’d been invited into a secret society of Facebook users, email fanatics and YouTube addicts. Google became my favorite word of the day, and I wanted everyone to know that I was finally hip to using a computer.

And then I heard about blogging. I was fascinated by the concept of sharing my opinions and personal experiences on the internet, to bare my soul to millions of people around the world…. and leaving myself open to their colorful remarks on my posts.

Oh, I was hooked. I began reading hundreds of blogs, contacting authors and eventually setting up my own blog site. Pretty soon I was eating all of my meals by the computer and avoiding telephone calls. The bills were paid late and dirty dishes filled the sink. Laundry seemed like an archaic concept, so I just let it pile up like Mount Rushmore. Home cooked dinners became store-bought meals heated in the microwave as my cooking skills took a back seat to my computer skills. Even chocolate could not distract me from my  computer, which would explain how I dropped a few pounds. The scale was smiling at me for the first time in years. Who knew blogging was more effective than diet pills for weight loss?

What once amused my family now annoyed the heck out of them. They were sick of eating frozen pizza every night and walking around in wrinkled clothes that smelled like a ferret’s cage. They would stand beside my desk and wait for me to acknowledge them, but my brain had turned into blogger zombie mush, and all I could do was stare blankly at the computer screen

“Who are you people?”

“We’re your children!”

” I have kids? When did that happen?”

 

“Honey, there’s a herd of elephants stampeding down the street and they’re headed for our house!”

“Okay…just sprinkle mozzarella cheese on them and bake them at 400 degrees.”

 

It was no use. They tried plying me away from the computer with wine, chocolate truffles, a Disney vacation, a puppy…I was lost in a zombie land daze, where every blogger survives on large doses of caffeine and a list of followers longer than the phone book.

And then the unthinkable happened. Out internet went down during a storm, and I was without my beloved computer for the entire weekend. At first, panic set in. Then anger and blame…sort of like Kubler-Ross’ five stages of grief. I wandered aimlessly through the house and checked the cable connection every five minutes to see if the power had been restored. Concerned by the glazed look in my eyes, my family started searching for a Bloggers Anonymous support group.

I was forced to brush the cobwebs off the stove and actually use the appliance to cook a healthy meal for my family. Next, I tackled the overflowing basket of laundry. Some of those pants were so dirty they could have sprouted legs and carried themselves out the door.

After wiping the film from my eyes, I saw my family clearly for the first time in months.

“Oh yeah, now I recognize you…you’re the son I gave birth to sixteen years ago…and there’s the daughter I celebrated a twenty-first birthday with…and hey, isn’t that handsome man over there on the couch with a beer in one hand and the television remote control in the other my husband?”

Welcome back to the land of the living!

The internet was finally restored and my computer hummed back to life. I circled it a few times, caressed its shiny top and dreamed of all the new blog posts I’d like to write. I knew there were hundreds of  emails just waiting to be opened, but I resisted the urge to touch the keys and focused on my family instead.

The obsession is still there; I’ve just learned to harness that energy into more productive things…like organizing my spice rack or cleaning out the dryer lint trap.

The zombies are still calling to me, and some nights when the house is quiet and the caffeine is singing through my veins, I can’t resist opening my laptop and blogging with the rest of the insomniacs of the world…as long as my husband isn’t waiting outside the window with the garden shears, ready to snip the cable line.

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56 thoughts on “ZOMBIE BLOGGER”

  1. I tried hard to giggle like I saw nothing of myself in this post, right up until your connection went down. That was when I caught myself amrchair-quaterbacking by screaming, “Smart phone! Smart phone! THEN you’ll be able to connect without a wi-fi signal!”
    Yeah…I’m in deep. *sigh*

    1. At the time I didn’t have a cell phone. But when I got the phone, it too, sat in a drawer before I learned how to use it. Now that I have it, you betcha I’m on that thing 24/7 when the internet goes down!!

  2. Enjoyed this post!
    Mr2Half and I got our first computer from one of those super computer stores. The oldest son knew about these things, and wrote out a list of what to buy. We took the list in and a guy filled the cart up for us. Then they took it all to the back and put it together. We did not join the internet until later. Oldest son taught me the computer by writing me out cheat sheets liberally peppered with comments like, don’t even ask why, you will figure out why later. And things like the computer will not explode if you make a mistake. He was right, one day it all clicked in and I knew this stuff! And I knew why. And I knew enough to figure out next steps on my own. This was some time and several computers ago. Sometimes, I drag a friend or family member kicking and screaming into the new age. Once or twice, I have had to go back and talk them down from the ledge, remind them that they have a real life also. You never know, one day, they might have to return the favor.

    1. LOL too funny! I’d like to get my mother on a computer but she has dug in her heels. My son had to teach me how to use one and he was not the greatest teacher, as I was a very slow learner. Once I got the hang of it though…..total addiction.

  3. I’ve visiting from Bloppy Bloggers. I totally understand the whole zombie thing. My computer is the biggest time-suck in my life. Between blogging and Facebook, I can easily spend hours on my computer. Good thing my kids are old enough to feed themselves or they’d starve!

  4. With the exception of the storm taking out my internet, you could be describing my life exactly. I purposely limit my time on the computer now – I usually stop when something is burning on the stove LOL.

    My husband still says I’m a luddite. I’m just trying to catch up with the rest of humanity.

  5. Marcia Kester Doyle’s blogs are some of the best that I have ever read. Her ability to write a cohesive blog with all the information she incorporates is astounding. She is a talented and gifted writer.

  6. Great story Marsha. I often feel sucked in by my computer, though I am trying to develop a plan to be more productive while also being available to do things away from the computer. It’a love/hate relationship I am having. Since I started blogging 10 months ago I have learned so much and am thankful for expanding my horizons in the arena.
    Barbara @ http://www.allmylivesnow.com

  7. I did not know we had this in common!! I didn’t even have an email account till three years ago, now I’m completely obsessed! I’m learning to live among the living, but I must confess that I am a zombie at heart!! Love this piece!

  8. Love love love this. My kid also tells me I’m too plugged in . . . as he responds via text to my comments to him. LOL!

    1. I need to find that balance. I love spending time with my family, especially when everyone is in town. But after a few hours, I’m sneaking into the bathroom to scroll through emails and Facebook!

  9. My husby drew me into the world of the computer in 1983 with the purchase of a game called, Zork. It took a lot of talk and coaxing. I was so sure I would screw up everything and cause the first – ever – nuclear meltdown via personal computer. But I’ve never looked back. Oh, I love my family. And I do what needs to be done – even spending time with them. But my time – MY TIME – is spent in front of this screen. Writing.

    1. Wow–I don’t remember that game. My hubs was into Pac Man back in 1983. We got out first computer in the early 90’s—big ugly box. I thought it was an evil thing so I stayed away from it all these years. Now I can’t imagine living without it.

  10. As an engineer, I thought I’d nudge my wife into technology after we retired. I got her a laptop and then a smart phone, followed by a Kindle and a Toyota Prius. The last one led to her driving off without the key and not being able to return home after she turned it off. This is because I had started it and drove her up the hill near our house, since it was covered in snow and she didn’t keep enough momentum to make it to the top. Technology simplifies and complicates our lives at the same time! (But it has NEVER kept me from eating chocolate!)
    Welcome to HO!

  11. Guilty. So so freaking guilty of living my life at the computer. Thankfully I’m not the domesticated one in this household so hubby takes care of the laundry and cooking. It definitely works to my advantage, maybe not so much for him though. LOL Now if only those damn felines would stop pestering me so much.

  12. It’s so easy to get tied into it. I almost always eat at my computer. She brings me a lot of great info and laughs. And I’d sleep with her, too. Because she doesn’t snore. But my husband might not be happy about that.

  13. From one zombie blogger to another – I loved this post! I’m still in the all-consumed stage, but hope to be a zombie blogger more like you when I’m all grown up & completely transformed. 🙂 Hopefully I’ll still have a husband by then. This post both encourages & inspires me – good to know that you were eventually able to step back a bit and yet still keep the momentum going! And you most definitely have! I’m just one of your many fans. Thanks for this great post!

    1. You are so kind, Marcia, thank you! I’m still trying to find the balance—Facebook REALLY sucks me in, though. I’m basically a homebody, so most of my socializing is through the internet. I have met so many wonderful people there, like you! 🙂

  14. I got tied into technology early, but I’m still amazed how quickly things have changed. I started with a computer with a 20MB hard drive that the guy said I’d never fill. Do you remember pagers and having to find a phone booth to return calls and fax machines with roll paper? I don’t know how I’d live without my technology. I get enticed into zombie mode every now and then, although when I chose my computer over chocolate, I’ll know it’s time to seek treatment. 🙂

  15. Ah yes… what a great story! And oh do I understand that pathway into the blogosphere and being consumed by it all! I think many bloggers could relate to all of this!

    I too, need to set better boundaries- and not allow it to take over the most important things in my life. I don’t want to look back at my kids’ childhood memories and find me behind the screen.

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